Laura Rose Carroll,and her daughter

Florida Homecoming Queen And Mom To Sue FDLE, School Over Alledged Hacking Dance Debacle

Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her daughter, 17

A Florida mother and daughter intend to sue the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a school district over allegations that they colluded to rig a homecoming dance vote in the daughters favor.

The daughter, Emily Grover, plans to sue the Escambia County School District for violating her civil rights over the incident, which revolved around the October 2020 homecoming dance at Tate High School.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the school district are both named in the suit, according to a notice of intent obtained by WEAR-TV.

The FDLE previously accused Grover and her mother, 51-year-old Laura Carroll, of conspiring to abuse the district’s voting system to name the daughter homecoming queen in 2020.

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Carroll, a former assistant principal at Belleview Elementary School, allegedly gave her daughter access to the system, allowing her to cast 246 votes for herself. The department also claimed that Grover bragged about the plan to her fellow classmates.

Back in March of 2021, agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Laura Rose Carroll, and her daughter, of Pensacola on one count each of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices (a 3rd-degree felony), unlawful use of a two-way communications device (a 3rd-degree felony), criminal use of personally identifiable information (a 3rd-degree felony) and conspiracy to commit these offenses (a 1st-degree misdemeanor).   

The investigation began in November 2020 when the Escambia County School District contacted FDLE to report unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts.

According to law enforcement, the investigation found that Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter, a student at Tate High School, had accessed student FOCUS accounts. Carroll had district-level access to the school board’s FOCUS program which is the school district’s student information system. FOCUS users are required to change their password every 45 days and Carroll’s annual training for the “Staff Responsible Use of Guidelines for Technology” was up to date.

In October 2020, hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court voting were flagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes originating from the same IP address within a short period of time. Agents uncovered evidence of unauthorized access to FOCUS linked to Carroll’s cell phone as well as computers associated with their residence, with a total of 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court.  

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At the time, multiple students reported that the daughter described using her mother’s FOCUS account to cast votes. The investigation also found that beginning in August 2019, Carroll’s FOCUS account accessed 372 high school records, and 339 of those were of Tate High School students.

The charges against Grover were dropped after she pleaded no contest and completed a supervised program.

In her notice of intent to file a lawsuit, Grover alleged that the incident had a “detrimental effect” on the trajectory of her life.

She was expelled from Tate High School, lost her offer to attend college, and lost a full-ride scholarship her attorney, Marie Mattox said to WEAR-TV.

“This is a black cloud that is traveling with Emily everywhere she goes,” Mattox added. “She needs to be able to start her life over without this wreckage of the past and be able to live a normal life that she intended to live.”

Mattox said to WEAR-TV that the FDLE never reached out to the company that ran the software used in the homecoming election. The Escambia County School District and the FDLE have until mid-October to respond to the intent letter.

“Number one, she didn’t engage in any criminal activity,” Mattox said. “And number two, if there had been a thorough investigation conducted to do a forensic evaluation on any computers, then you would say Emily was not involved at all in casting any votes.”

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